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Keyword: astronomy

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  • Supermassive black hole found in tiny galaxy, wowing researchers

    08/14/2018 6:31:50 PM PDT · by ETL · 36 replies ^ | Aug 14, 2018 | Chris Ciaccia
    A supermassive black hole has been found at the center of a tiny galaxy, a rare find. What makes the discovery even more unique is that it has been located in an ultracompact dwarf galaxy, stunning researchers. The findings, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, note that the galaxy Fornax UCD3 is part of a set called ultracompact dwarfs (UCDs), a very rare set of galaxies. "We have discovered a supermassive black hole in the center of Fornax UCD3," said the study's lead author, Anton Afanasiev, in a statement. "The black hole mass is 3.5 million...
  • Perseid Meteor Shower 2018 Peaks Tonight! How to Watch Online

    08/12/2018 12:12:54 PM PDT · by ETL · 30 replies ^ | August 12, 2018 | Elizabeth Howell, Contributor
    The peak of the summer's best meteor shower – the Perseids– peaks overnight tonight (Aug. 12), but you'll need good weather to see it. Just in case your night sky cloudy or hazy, you can check out the annual meteor shower on webcasts online by Slooh, NASA and the Virtual Telescope Project. You can watch the Perseid meteor shower webcast here, courtesy of the astronomy broadcast service Slooh. The 6-hour webcast begins at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) and you can watch it directly on During the broadcast, viewers can use the hashtag #Slooh on social media to share...
  • Alien Life, Seth Shostak and SETI

    08/09/2018 11:10:20 AM PDT · by jcpryor · 16 replies
    The Chris Pryor Show ^ | 08/09/2018 | Chris Pryor
    Seth Shostak from joined the Chris Pryor Show. Seth discussed current scientific attempts to discover intelligent life and the mechanisms involved in this search. Seth has a fantastic radio show of his own, Big Picture Science and it can be found here
  • Look Up! You Might Be Able to See a Green Comet Tonight

    08/07/2018 12:09:27 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 41 replies
    Popular Mechanics ^ | Aug 7, 2018 | By Temi Adebowale
    Viewing the Incredible Hulk with the naked eye may be a little tricky. Because the comet got so close to the sun and broke up from solar heat, it's rapidly fading from view. Also, thunderstorms and clouds in various parts of the country may impede vision of the comet. However, experts don't rule out another eruption in the coming days, which could make the comet brighter in the night sky. Additionally, Paul Chodas, the manager for the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told Live Science the comet may be visible later in August ― around...
  • True Colors of Pluto and Its Largest Moon Charon

    08/07/2018 8:49:37 AM PDT · by ETL · 36 replies ^ | Aug 2, 2018 | News Staff / Source
    Marking the anniversary of New Horizons’ historic flight through the Pluto system on July 14, 2015, NASA released high-resolution natural-color images of Pluto and Charon. These color images result from refined calibration of data gathered by New Horizons’ Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC).The processing creates images that would approximate the colors that the human eye would perceive, bringing them closer to ‘true color’ than the images released near the encounter.The image of Pluto was taken as New Horizons zipped toward the dwarf planet and its moons on July 14, 2015, from a range of 22,025 miles (35,445 km).The striking features...
  • HD 26965b: Super-Earth Found Just 16 Light-Years Away

    08/02/2018 1:53:13 PM PDT · by ETL · 75 replies
    Sci News ^ | July 30, 2018 | Natali Anderson
    Designated HD 26965b, the newly-detected alien world has a mass of 8.47 Earth masses and is located a mere 16 light-years away.This planet revolves around the bright K-class dwarf star HD 26965 once every 42.4 days.The host star is approximately 6.9 billion years old, has a mass about 78% of the Sun’s and a radius 87% as large.“HD 26965 is the primary of a very widely separated triple system. The other two companions are an M4 dwarf and a white dwarf,” said University of Florida astronomer Bo Ma and co-authors.“This star is a very bright metal poor star with an...
  • New radio telescope picks up mysterious signal from space

    08/02/2018 8:05:24 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 75 replies
    CNET ^ | July 31, 2018 9:57 PM PDT | Eric Mack
    A new radio telescope in Canada is doing its job picking up mysterious signals from deep space known as "fast radio bursts" (FRBs). The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) in British Columbia detected the first-ever FRB at frequencies below 700 MHz on July 25, a signal named FRB 180725A. As you might guess, FRBs are milliseconds-long bursts of radio emissions that come from some unknown source across the universe. They're one of the newer cosmic mysteries around, having been first detected only about a decade ago. Possible explanations include bursts from magnetars, exploding black holes, and yes, highly advanced...
  • Who discovered Mars, anyway? A look back at the history of the Red Planet

    07/31/2018 2:41:41 PM PDT · by ETL · 30 replies ^ | July 27, 2018 | Meghan Bartels, Senior Writer
    Who discovered Mars? That's a trick question: Because the planet is visible to the naked eye, humans have been watching our rusty neighbor for thousands of years, and there's no way to track down the name of the long-dead observer who first noticed its reddish glow. But just because we'll never be able to give that sharp-eyed human a name doesn't mean there's nothing interesting to learn about the history of observing Mars. That said, they didn't know what Mars was — it was just a bright light that didn't behave in quite the same way as the other bright...
  • Mars Terraforming Not Possible Using Present-Day Technology

    07/30/2018 3:44:07 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 90 replies
    NASA ^ | 7/30/18 | Bill Steigerwald / Nancy Jones
    July 30, 2018 RELEASE 18-13 Mars Terraforming Not Possible Using Present-Day Technology Science fiction writers have long featured terraforming, the process of creating an Earth-like or habitable environment on another planet, in their stories. Scientists themselves have proposed terraforming to enable the long-term colonization of Mars. A solution common to both groups is to release carbon dioxide gas trapped in the Martian surface to thicken the atmosphere and act as a blanket to warm the planet. However, Mars does not retain enough carbon dioxide that could practically be put back into the atmosphere to warm Mars, according to a new...
  • NASA's New Planet Hunter Begins Its Search for Alien Worlds

    07/28/2018 12:10:06 PM PDT · by ETL · 17 replies ^ | July 28, 2018 | Meghan Bartels, Senior Writer
    NASA's newest planet-hunting telescope is officially at work. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which is designed to hunt for alien worlds around stars not too far from the sun, began gathering science data Wednesday (July 25), members of the instrument team announced yesterday (July 27). TESS will send that initial data to Earth in August, with new observations arriving every 13.5 days after that, mission team members said in a statement. "I'm thrilled that our planet hunter is ready to start combing the backyard of our solar system for new worlds," Paul Hertz, director of NASA's Astrophysics division, said...
  • Space stations, dark rituals and chorizo: how social media saw the blood moon

    07/27/2018 10:13:00 PM PDT · by blueplum · 3 replies
    The Guardian UK ^ | 27 Jul 2018 | Patrick Lum
    (photos at link) Amateur skywatchers and photographers from around the world – as well as the stargazing professionals – have sacrificed sleep to share spectacular images of the blood moon on social media. NASA put up a handy explainer (even though North and Central America were left out of the shade), and streamed the eclipse’s progress from a variety of planetariums across the world. Other space experts also made their contributions, including from the international space station. Meanwhile, earth-based photographers shared incredible shots...
  • The Massive Mars Dust Storm Is Starting to Die Down

    07/27/2018 7:19:37 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 16 replies ^ | Mike Wall
    The dust is finally beginning to clear on Mars, but it'll probably still be a while before NASA's sidelined Opportunity rover can phone home. A global dust storm has enshrouded Mars for more than a month, plunging the planet's surface into perpetual darkness. That's complicated life significantly for the solar-powered Opportunity, which has apparently put itself into a sort of hibernation; the rover hasn't contacted its controllers since June 10. Scientists studying the storm "say that, as of Monday, July 23, more dust is falling out than is being raised into the planet's thin air," agency officials added. "That means...
  • Former astronaut doubts that NASA or SpaceX will make it to Mars with their shiny new rockets

    06/20/2018 12:51:12 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 57 replies
    BGR ^ | June 19th, 2018 at 10:52 AM | Mike Wehner
    Chris Hadfield, who flew to the International Space Station as part of the Canadian Space Agency, told Business Insider that making it to Mars is going to take technology that has yet to be conceived. Put simply, he doesn’t believe the new rockets being worked on by NASA, SpaceX, or Blue Origin have much chance of fulfilling their stated goals. “Personally, I don’t think any of those three rockets is taking people to Mars,” Hadfield said regarding the SpaceX Big Falcon Rocket, Blue Origin’s New Glenn, and NASA’s Space Launch System being constructed by Boeing. “I don’t think those are...
  • NASA rover knocked out as gigantic dust storm envelops Mars

    06/14/2018 5:11:47 PM PDT · by BBell · 44 replies ^ | 6/13/18 | Marcia Dunn
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA's seemingly unstoppable Mars rover Opportunity has been knocked out by a gigantic dust storm that is enveloping the red planet and blotting out the sun. Officials said Wednesday they're hopeful the rover will survive the storm, which already covers one-quarter of Mars and is expected to encircle the planet in another few days. It could be weeks or even months, though, until the sky clears enough for sunlight to reach the Martian surface and recharge Opportunity's batteries through its solar panels. For now, Mars' oldest working rover is stuck in the middle of the raging...
  • Huge Dust Storm on Mars Hits NASA's Opportunity Rover

    06/10/2018 7:16:53 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 24 replies ^ | June 10, 2018 08:07am ET | By Tariq Malik,
    The Martian dust storm was first spotted from space by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, NASA officials said. "As soon as the orbiter team saw how close the storm was to Opportunity, they notified the rover's team to begin preparing contingency plans," NASA officials said in a statement. "In a matter of days, the storm had ballooned." As of Friday (June 8), the storm covers more than 7 million square miles of Mars (18 million square kilometers), according to NASA. That's an area larger than all of North America on Earth. "Full dust storms like this one are not surprising, but...
  • Chasing Signs of Life, Curiosity Rover Discovers Organic Building Blocks on Mars

    06/07/2018 11:23:51 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 42 replies ^ | Jun 7, 2018 | By Jay Bennett
    The robot, which has been exploring Mars for almost six years, discovered new organic compounds and cycles of methane that could point to life on Mars. _____________________________________________________________________________ Since 2012, the Curiosity rover has been exploring Mars near a place called Mount Sharp. The robot has found chemical traces that could indicate this place was watery billions of years ago—and could have supported life. NASA can't say whether there ever was life on Mars, but new evidence reinforces the idea that Mars was habitable. NASA's flagship Mars rover, Curiosity, has been combing the surface of Mars for signs of life for...
  • Building Blocks of Life Found on Mars

    06/07/2018 11:21:25 AM PDT · by Simon Green · 62 replies
    National Geographic ^ | 06/07/18 | Michael Greshko
    Day to day, it’s easy to lose sight of an astonishing fact: Since 2012, humankind has been driving a nuclear-powered sciencemobile the size of an SUV on another planet. This engineering marvel, NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity, has revolutionized our understanding of the red planet. And thanks to the intrepid rover, we now know that ancient Mars had carbon-based compounds called organic molecules—key raw materials for life as we know it. A new study published in Science on Thursday presents the first conclusive evidence for large organic molecules on the surface of Mars, a pursuit that began with NASA’s Viking landers...
  • NASA found something on Mars and it’s holding a press conference on Thursday to tell everyone

    06/06/2018 8:39:22 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 186 replies
    BGR ^ | 06/05/2018
    NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has been on the Red Planet for a long, long time. Back in March it tallied its 2,000th Martian day, which is 2,054 Earth days, and despite some drilling woes that have since been solved, the plucky little rover is still cruising along and conducting experiments in the name of science. Now, just days after NASA revealed that its new drilling technique works as planned, the agency is calling for a press conference to reveal something special. As always, the group is tight-lipped about what it has in store, but it will be holding its event...
  • Moon pairs with brightening Mars tonight

    06/03/2018 8:03:53 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 4 replies
    Saturn will not be too far away. It will be just west of Mars and not as bright as the Red Planet. Mars is growing brighter every night. On July 27, Mars will reach opposition. This is when Earth will be directly between Mars and the sun. Therefore, Mars will look very bright and grace the sky all night. It will be brighter than Jupiter! Before Mars reaches opposition, the Earth passes directly between Saturn and the moon. This is a great time to view Saturn; it’s in the sky all night, and it is bright. has a great...
  • Populating a Mars Base Will Be Dangerously Unsexy

    05/30/2018 9:29:30 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 51 replies ^ | May 29, 2018 07:03am ET | Brandon Specktor,
    Mars will be a hard place to raise the children necessary to sustain a permanent colony there. And according to a new paper published in the June issue of the journal Futures, conceiving kids on Mars will be even harder. ... The biological challenges of rearing Mars babies are easy enough to wrap one's head around. For starters, Mars' atmosphere is about 1 percent as thick as Earth's, meaning the planet is hit by a lot more solar radiation than humans are currently used to. NASA studies have shown that radiation exposure might damage astronauts' brain cells and increase their...